AAP AFL

Cats confident of nullifying potent Eagles

By AAP Newswire

Tom Stewart has backed Geelong's defence to nullify West Coast's potent forward line in Friday night's AFL semi-final.

The Eagles flexed their attacking muscle against Essendon, with Jamie Cripps, Josh Kennedy, Liam Ryan, Jack Darling and Jake Waterman all kicking multiple goals in Perth last week.

Stewart said Ryan posed a huge threat, but he backed the Cats' group of defensive "misfits" to shut him down.

"In terms of small forwards, they're very, very classy, they're silk, they use the ball exceptionally well and their pressure's elite so we've got to keep a close check on them," he told reporters on Thursday.

"But we've been the best defence in the league for a reason this year and that's because our system that we've trained all year has worked.

"Matthew Scarlett's put together an amazing group, a collective - the misfits as we like to call ourselves - and we really rate ourselves as just being able to get the job done."

Mark Blicavs looks poised to return to defence to take on Kennedy or Darling, with Harry Taylor, Jake Kolodjashnij and Jack Henry also likely to be called upon to deal with West Coast's talls.

Dual All-Australian Stewart shapes as the likely opponent for the in-form Cripps, who booted four goals from 22 disposals in a best-afield performance against Essendon.

"He's a quality player, I think he got best on ground last week from the coaches against Essendon so you've got to pay him all due respect," Stewart said.

"He's a fantastic small forward."